Mar 18, 2010 8:27am
Re: LMA GD Forum NIT Tourney Pool - NIT (NOT NCAA - that's open)
At least as members of the Big Four we can all agree that we hate Maryland and UVa? This is very amusing:
Maryland b-ball bill stirs up partisan trouble on the Hill
Updated 1:41 p.m.
By Ben Pershing
Are House Republicans rooting against the Terps in the Big Dance?
That's one possible interpretation of an odd saga that has unfolded on the House floor over the last 24 hours, culminating with a vote minutes ago on a resolution "Congratulating the 2009-2010 University of Maryland Men's Basketball Team, Greivis Vasquez, and Coach Gary Williams on an outstanding season." The measure passed, which seems normal enough, but with 132 members -- all but two of them Republicans -- voting against, which is not to normal for such routine symbolic bills.
The controversy started Tuesday evening, when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D), who represents Prince George's Country, offered the seemingly innocuous resolution, just as the Maryland men prepare to play the University of Houston in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night.
Hoyer and fellow Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards (D) spoke in favor of the bill. But then California Rep. John Campbell (R) got up, and he was not happy.
While emphasizing that he didn't want "to cast any aspersions on [Maryland], nor on any Terp fans or anything like that," Campbell complained that back in October, he had offered a resolution congratulating a school in his district -- the University of California, Irvine -- for winning a men's volleyball championship, but Hoyer had "pulled that resolution from the floor."
"Therefore, those kids who won that national championship were not able to get the same recognition that apparently today these players for Maryland, who are just in the playoffs, are going to receive," Campbell said, adding: "In the past, we have done these for teams that win national championships. This is for a team that's making the playoffs, one of 65."
Then Campbell went for the kill.
"Finally, Mr. Speaker, I have here the sports section from today's Washington Post," he said. "I will read from the front page where it says that according to a study, Maryland had the lowest graduation rate, 8 percent, among the 65 NCAA tournament teams. Given that this is being put forth in the Education and Labor Committee, if we were going to look at all the 65 teams in the NCAA championships, should we be considering the academics of the teams that are in or not in?"
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), who was on the House floor for the whole exchange, decided to stay out of it. "I will keep myself totally neutral as a graduate of the University of New Hampshire," she said.
Hoyer's office suggested the GOP's opposition wasn't surprising. "Republicans are staying true to their 'Party of No' doctrine: Whether it's health care, job creation, or basketball, Republicans aren't for anything," said Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg.
According to a report in the Orange Country Register from last year, it was actually Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) who had the Irvine volleyball resolution pulled, because he and Campbell were feuding over a Bay Area water recycling program as well as a broader controversy surrounding water rights in California's Central Valley.
When the Maryland measure came up for a vote Wednesday, 129 of Campbell's fellow Republicans stood with him against the bill. Two Democrats -- Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.) -- also voted no, and six more voted present, for reasons that aren't clear.
Perhaps they're Duke fans.